Chronic NSAID Use Can Double Heart Attack Risk in Elderly

A recent medical study is showing that elderly patients who suffer from hypertension and coronary artery disease who also use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) chronically for pain are significantly at higher risk to experience heart attacks.

“We found a significant increase in adverse cardiovascular outcomes, primarily driven by an increase in cardiovascular mortality”, states lead author Dr. Anthony A. Bavry (Universtiy of Florida, Gainesville).

Bavry and colleagues were not able to differentiate between NSAIDs in the study. Most people were taking ibuprofen, naproxen or celecoxib and until further work is done, he considers NSAIDs a “class effect” and that their use should be avoided wherever possible. He also states that patients should not attempt to terminate these medicines on their own. “They should have a discussion with their physician. When I see patients like these taking NSAIDs I will have an informed discussion with them and tell them there is evidence that these agents may be associated with harm. I try to get them to switch to an alternative agent, such as acetaminophen, or if that’s not possible I at least try to get them to reduce the dose of NSAIDs or the frequency of dosing. But ultimately, it’s up to them if this potential risk is worth taking depending upon the indication for their use.”

If you have any questions regarding the use of NSAIDs, feel free to contact your primary care physician or Dr. Kleker for information on alternative options that may help to ease your symptoms.